Vox Sentences: Manafort’s livin’ lavish; he’s got expensive fabrics

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Paul Manfort’s trial reveals some details about his shopping habits; thieves make off with some of Sweden’s crown jewels.


Manafort’s defense tries to roll Rick

Manafort trial illustrationDana Verkouteren/AP
  • The first federal trial of former lobbyist and Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort just wrapped up its second day. Manafort faces 18 counts of bank fraud, tax evasion, and conspiracy charges. [LA Times / Chris Megerian and Eliza Fawcett]
  • The trial kicked off Tuesday with a round of opening statements from the prosecution and defense. Prosecutor Uzo Asonye spoke about the lengths to which Manafort went to fund his “extravagant lifestyle” (including a $15,000 ostrich jacket). The defense tried to skirt the blame and put the onus on Manafort’s ex-deputy Rick Gates. [Politico / Josh Gerstein and Darren Samuelsohn]
  • The prosecution and defense also locked down a jury and called a witness, who established Manafort’s presence in Ukraine, to the stand. [CNN]
  • On day two, Asonye continued to detail Manafort’s lavish taste, but Judge T.S. Ellis III advised him that the point was proven and it was time to move on. [Daily News / Dennis Slattery]
  • President Trump tweeted on Wednesday that Attorney General Jeff Sessions should shut down the “dirty” investigation. It seems he forgot (or doesn’t care) that special counsel Robert Mueller is looking into whether Trump obstructed justice through his tweets. [Washington Post / Aaron Blake]
  • None of the charges relate to collusion. Still, it could all be an attempt to pressure Manafort into flipping on Trump. [Vox / Andrew Prokop]
  • The odds are not in Manafort’s favor for this trial: Mueller charged the ex-lobbyist with crimes that have “lower burdens of proof.” [NBC / Danny Cevallos]
  • So why hasn’t Manafort flipped yet? There’s a theory that he fears his life is at risk… or that he just assumes Trump will pardon him. [Vox / Andrew Prokop]
  • Various members of Trump’s team have hinted that the president may pardon Manafort if the situation calls for it. But a whole slew of other issues would arise with a presidential pardon. [Vox / Sean Illing]

The Swedish Job

  • Two thieves stole “invaluable” Swedish crown jewels in broad daylight on Tuesday, July 31: two royal crowns and a golden orb. [Independent / Tom Embury-Dennis]
  • The daring pair escaped on a speedboat in a lake 60 miles from Stockholm and have not yet been found. Authorities have launched a huge operation to retrieve the priceless items. [The Local Sweden]
  • Police have “high hopes” of finding the stolen objects because such distinctive pieces are very difficult to sell. [Guardian / Haroon Siddique and Kate Lyons]
  • The two golden, pearl-covered crowns belonged to 17th-century monarchs Karl IX and Kristina the Elder, who are buried in the cathedral the jewels were stolen from. [USA Today / Deutsche Welle]
  • This is likely one of the highest-profile jewel heists to date. [Slate / Molly Olmstead]

Miscellaneous

  • A whistleblower has leaked plans from Google to release a censored version of its search engine in China to accommodate the government’s authoritarian demands. [The Verge / James Vincent]
  • CNN will say a final goodbye to the late chef and travel journalist Anthony Bourdain with its last season of his television series Parts Unknown this fall. Only one episode will contain his signature, stylistically excellent narration. [Variety]
  • Scientists are looking into ways to artificially trigger the “Savant syndrome,” a phenomenon where some sort of injury or disability results in sudden prodigious abilities, such as expertise in painting, music, or mathematics. [Scientific American / Darold A. Treffert]
  • First lady Melania Trump is once again being roasted online after photos of her looking, er, uncomfortable and off-kilter (to say the least) while gardening went viral. Take a look for yourself. [Complex / Sarah Jasmine Montgomery]

Verbatim

“So what are the rest of us to do, knowing that the person standing next to us at a bar, waiting behind … as we order coffee or sitting across the table from us at dinner might be a complete asshole, the kind of person who takes pleasure in depriving others of the ability to make a living wage?” [Kristin Iversen on ethical tipping practices / Nylon]


Watch this: Why Hong Kong’s buildings are full of holes

Why Hong Kong’s buildings are full of holes. [YouTube / Johnny Harris]

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